Dr. Amit Patel of the University of Utah is reporting that 3 out of 3 heart disease patients have improved in the initial stages of his stem cell research trial in which the cardiomyopathy patients had their own Adult Stem Cells injected back into their heart in a minimally invasive surgical procedure.
Dr. Patel presented the initial data at the International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT) annual meeting in San Diego, California. The clinical research trial is treating heart patients with both ischemic cardiomyopathy and non-ischemic dilated cardiomyopathy and then injecting them with their own Adult Stem Cells. There is a control group in the study as well. Translation- some patients are not getting the benefit of the stem cells and receive a placebo.
Initial Data of Patients Treated with Adult Stem Cells
Here are the results so far (from the stem cell article)-
- 3 cardiomyopathy patients who received their own stem cells were followed up at 3 months. They all improved on their New York Heart Failure Classes– all 3 going from a Class III to a Class II. In contrast 2 out of the 3 who didn’t get stem cells , did NOT improve.
- Overall quality of life scores (Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire) improved in all 3 patients who received the stem cell therapy. The physical and emotional well-being of all the patients who received the treatment also improved. There was no consistent trend in the control group (the group that didn’t get the stem cells)
Millions Would Benefit With Use of Own Stem Cells
While these are positive results and I am happy for these patients, there are thousands of cardiomyopathy patients who are not able to receive this stem cell treatment. Dr. Kit Arom of Vescell in Thailand, a former associate of Dr. Patel, is now treating these exact same patients with their own stem cells and none of these dilated cardiomyopathy and heart attack patients are in a “control” group ie. they are getting the exact same procedure and getting their own Adult Stem Cells that Dr. Patel’s trial is doing (sucessfully).
Dr. Kit Arom has been treating heart disease patients in Thailand since 2005 with this exact same procedure- and the USA has just done 3??? Is something wrong here?
The Debate on Stem Cell Research – A Smokescreen?
While there is the endless debate on Embryonic Stem Cell research vs. Adult Stem Cell research, is the debate just some clever smokescreen thrown up by the drug companies, FDA, and cardiologists, none of whom will benefit from heart (or name your disease) patients using their own Adult Stem Cells to help themselves? Is this stem cell debate just a means to slow down the use of the patient’s own cells? Remember, there are no side effects from using your own stem cells, either they help (most of the time) or they don’t (no harm done).
Are people getting so caught up on the stem cell research issue that we are ignoring the patients who are in need of help right now? Are we so intent on 100% “cures” that we ignore stem cell treatments that are not “cures”, but do indeed help improve the quality of lives of the majority of patients right NOW. I’m sure the patients who improved in the stem cell heart study above are very happy with their results. Are their hearts 100% perfect now? No, it wasn’t a “cure”. Does that mean it isn’t good enough?
Why do we have to go for the homerun on every at bat, when a patient would be grateful for a single or double? Would Michael J Fox be happy if his Parkinson’s symptoms subsided for 5 years like this gentleman? Or, I’m sure the heart patients are pleased that instead of getting short of breath from getting the mail, that they are probably now able to walk around their local mall with their loved ones.
I see endless articles and letters to the editor that support this research or that research, but rarely do I see an article or letter promoting USING the only treatment that works now- Adult Stem Cells. In the end, with all this hoopla, we end up forgetting about what should be the reasons for the debates and research in the first place- the patients.
original post by Don Margolis